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Last updateFri, 18 Aug 2017 9am

Technology

Tracking Construction Workers

In the construction industry, being able to keep track of a workforce comprised of hundreds of mobile employees spread out across different jobsites can be a huge value on projects. This is why some construction companies are using RFID (radio-frequency identification) to track the exact location of each worker.

In Washington, D.C., for example, Grunley Construction, www.grunley.com, Rockville, Md., is using RFID for realtime workforce monitoring on two projects at American University for a period of 9-12 months.

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Looking Forward with Construction Technology

altThe construction-technology space has been buzzing lately with new product, partnership, and acquisition announcements—all possible signs the market is bouncing back. As contractors begin to consider new technology, it is critical to take into account the technology provider’s roadmap for the product.

As one example of a recent news announcement impacting the construction-technology market, Viewpoint Construction Software, www.viewpointcs.com, Portland, Ore., and ConEst Software Systems, www.conest.com, Manchester, N.H., announced a new partnership.

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Service Contractors BYOD

altThe BYOD (bring your own device) trend has hit construction. But there are many questions contractors need to consider before sending field workers to the jobsite with their personal devices to use for business purposes. For example, when following BYOD, how do you deploy software to the field when workers are using a variety of different platforms and devices?

The answer to this question, and more, will depend on each individual organization. But, for those interested, there are cross-platform mobile applications and software designed specifically for the construction industry.

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Energy Influenced Upgrades

altWhen J.M. Electrical Co., www.jmelectrical.com, Lynnfield, Mass., completed construction and project operations at the Castle Square Apartments located in Boston's historic South End neighborhood, the work came with a green appeal. Energy efficiency is the name of the game today in construction, and these upgrades certainly fit the bill.

It is no surprise that J.M. Electrical Co., would focus on energy efficiency in its work. After all, the company is known for working in advanced automated building system installations. In an effort to reduce energy demand and consumption, Castle Square Apartments created an energy conservation plan to upgrade all apartment units and facility HVAC (heating, ventilation, air conditioning) systems with energy efficient technology. In all, this will help the project realize cost savings with better energy practices and system modifications.

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Smart BIM

altThrough the years, BIM (building information modeling) has gained much traction in the construction industry, with architects, engineers, contractors, and owners hammering for a better way to gather and store information. However, one of the challenges with BIM is taking the information from a product such as Autodesk Revit and compiling and organizing it in such a way that makes sense for that particular user.

Earlier this year, Assemble Systems, www.assemblesystems.com, Houston, Texas, released its Assemble Platform that allows teams to share information between the various design systems and construction technology. This week, the company updated its platform—adding Smart Filters and allowing for user control of the information.

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The Digital Delivery of Homes

altFor the better part of three decades, home remodeling company O’Connor and Sons, www.oconnorandsons.com, Oceanside, Calif., has prided itself on being a master of its craft as a fully licensed and bonded general contractor. Now the company is looking to master another realm, which it hopes in turn will help it take that level of expertise to an even higher level: technology.

Last week the company, which provides such services as new construction, architectural design, interior design and construction, and even commercial work, among others, announced it will begin adding advanced art computer drafting technology for its line of services to clients. The use of this technology will allow the company to produce highly details digital floor plans, 3D elevations, and working drawings.

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Improving Workflow with Mobile

altReporting capabilities across multiple technology solutions can help solidify a construction company’s workflow by closing gaps between processes and reducing the opportunity for error. For industries that rely on a mobile workforce, the ability to keep track of employees’ hours and location while giving them the tools to transfer data to and from the jobsite can be key to a successful project.

Especially as mobile devices and mobility solutions become more accessible, affordable, and compatible with backend systems, construction professionals looking to maximize their bottomline are turning to these types of technology solutions that can automate traditionally paper-based processes, such as keeping track of employee hours, and provide new opportunities for visibility.  

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Focusing on Usability

altWhen it comes to adopting a technology solution, never underestimate the importance of usability. In the construction industry, software solutions meant to make workflow easier and faster, along with mobile devices designed to connect disparate processes, can make a big impact on a company’s bottomline. Of course, this is only true if the technology is adopted by the right people and in a timely manner.

When adopting a project-management solution, the technology must be user-friendly enough to ensure nothing slips through the cracks. After all, if using a device or a software solution is more difficult for a user than the “old way,” the company will not experience an optimal level of ROI (return on investment).

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The Future of Construction Technology

altWith technology changing at a very rapid pace, developing current and future strategies for adoption in the construction industry can be a challenge to say the least. But being able to adopt technology in the right manner is key to growing businesses in the construction industry.

One of the big areas up for discussion when it comes to the future of construction technology is how mobile initiatives will play a role in construction firms.

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